Top calibre Democratic Republic of Congo football clubs TP Mazembe and A.S V Club will be out to put the challenge firmly to Orlando Pirates and defending champions Kaizer Chiefs when all roads lead to 2004 Vodacom Challenge action at the Mmabatho and Soccer City stadiums next month.
The 2004 Vodacom Challenge follows the proud slogan of Uyeza Umoya which is a clear indication that the spirit of African football, and the spirit of Vodacom are coming to the Mmabatho stadium (Sunday, July 11) and the Soccer City stadium (Saturday, July 17) with this years Vodacom Challenge.
This annual competition is set to continue creating the ultimate football experience for fans.
With a winners cheque of R1 000 000 set to be a source of extra motivation to the four sides in their bid for 2004 Vodacom Challenge glory, the runners-up will take home R500 000, and the third and fourth placed teams collecting R300 000 and R200 000 respectively, making the Vodacom Challenge into one of the most lucrative football competitions on the African continent.
Vodacom Group Executive of Corporate Affairs Mthobi Tyamzashe said that as a leading cellular network on the African continent and having an extensive cellular network infrastructure in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Vodacom is delighted that the Central African clubs have accepted invitations to play in the 2004 Vodacom Challenge.
"The Vodacom Challenge belongs to SAs two biggest clubs that both ensure huge fan support of this wonderful game of football in SA, and we are looking forward to witnessing top class African football when the first leg of the 2004 Vodacom Challenge is played in Mmabatho, since this football event has played a major role in creating major business enhancement in this area of SA," said Tyamzashe.
"We also look forward to a capacity crowd at the Vodacom Challenge second leg to be held at the Soccer City in Johannesburg, which is one of the key venues to be used for the 2010 World Cup.
"Big matches need to be held at big stadiums, and while the Vodacom Challenge had a proud attendance track record in Durban over the years, it was crucial to take the Vodacom Challenge final showpiece event to a larger stadium like Soccer City."
Tyamzashe added that the Vodacom Challenge trophy is fast becoming one of the most sought-after pieces of football silverware in African football, and that SAs leading cellular network looks forward to witnessing other teams lifting their level of play to strive to match or better Chiefs proud track record of three Vodacom Challenge triumphs, which allowed the mighty Amakhosi to take possession of the coveted Kudu Horn trophy.
A blue sea of spectators is expected to greet the teams upon entrance to the field, with Vodacom set to hand out over 50 000 beanies to spectators, with the big-match-hype set to consist of a programme of top DJs, competitions and promotional give-aways - making the Vodacom Challenge into the perfect, fun entertainment package for family and friends.
Orlando Pirates chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who is also the chairman of the SA 2010 World Cup Preparations Committee of which Vodacom is a proud sponsor, said that Pirates and Chiefs players and their respective fans, will have the perfect opportunity to prove yet again to the world that FIFA made the right choice in awarding the 2010 World Cup hosting rights to SA.
"The Vodacom Challenge has a passionate spot in the hearts of SA fans, and I have no doubt that they will come out in their numbers to fill the Mmabatho and Soccer City stadiums, to watch African football of the highest quality being delivered by Pirates, Chiefs, and the DRC teams," said Dr Khoza.
"Chiefs took ownership of the Kudu Horn trophy last year, and I have no doubt that the youthful Pirates squad of 2004 will be out to prove that they are up to the big occasion, when they lace up their boots for Vodacom Challenge action."
Chiefs Chairman Kaizer Motaung said his team is ready to successfully defend their Vodacom Challenge title, having beaten FC Lupopo on penalties in last years final.
"Following our 2003/2004 Premier Soccer League championship, we are set to take advantage of the wonderful pre-season competitive platform that the Vodacom Challenge presents," said Motaung.
"Both TP Mazembe and AS V. Club are strong clubs from the DRC, and we look forward to exciting football in this years competition. Bringing the final to the Gauteng province on the eve of Madibas birthday, will also bring a new spirit to the Challenge."
TP Mazembe Chairman Moise Matumbi and A.S V Clubs Pierrot Mumbulu expressed their teams commitment towards delivering football of the highest quality in a bid to ensure that the Vodacom Challenges Kudu Horn trophy will spend the next 12 months in the DRC.
Lucky fans will have the opportunity of driving away from the stadium in style with two Nissan B140 bakkies up for grabs via a Vodacom Challenge SMS competition.
Tickets for the 2004 Vodacom Challenge are available at Computicket from Tuesday, June 22 at a cost of R30 for Mmabatho and R50 for the final showdown at Soccer City.
For further information, please contact:
082 906 0019
082 902 3780
VODACOM CHALLENGE DRAW 2004:
SUNDAY, 11 JULY 2004:
KAIZER CHIEFS VS. TP MAZEMBE
ORLANDO PIRATES VS AS V. CLUB
SATURDAY, 17 JULY 2004:
Soccer City, Johannesburg :
Finals to be confirmed.